Archie Thompson had few opportunities against South Korea. Picture: Getty Images/Chung Sung-Jun
Australia meets Japan at the East Asian Cup on Thursday night, looking to improve on a poor display that saw them escape with a lucky point against South Korea in the tournament opener last Saturday. The Socceroos were well below their best in the 0-0 draw with the hosts in the first match of the campaign on the weekend and coach Holger Osieck is likely to make changes to his side for the match against Japan.
With the likes of Tim Cahill, Luke Wilkshire and Brett Holman missing from a squad largely made up of A-League players, the Socceroos midfield hardly had any ball and Osieck is likely to send a new look engine room into battle for the second match of the competition. Matt McKay is likely to play a more central role after seeing little action on the left flank at the Seoul World Cup Stadium, while Wanderers star Aaron Mooy could also get a chance in the starting side following a strong domestic season. Archie Thompson will be another player that Australia will want to get more involved and he could play down the middle after having little involvement on the right wing against South Korea.
Japan will be looking for a more solid display at the back against the Socceroos after conceding two late goals to be held to a draw against China in its first game of the tournament. Zaccheroni’s men have now conceded 12 goals in their past four matches and if they don’t improve their shaky defence, Australia will fancy its chances of winning, as it came so close to doing when denied by a late equaliser in the 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw away to Japan last month.
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